Thursday, May 22, 2008

One month`s time given to power defaulters before govt takes action

IMPHAL, May 21: The state government has taken a decision for revenue realisation in the power department considering the present power scenario and the difficulties that the power department is facing such as limited allocation of power from Central sector generating stations, system constraints, gap between availability and demand, high commercial and technical losses, poor revenue realization, said the state power minister Phungzathang Tonsing during a press conference held this afternoon at his office chamber.The power minister further said the decision for realisation of power revenue was taken following a formal meeting with the Governor, Dr. SS Sidhu this morning at Raj Bhavan in Imphal where the state power minister Phungzathang Tonsing, principal secretary power, along with the chief engineer power and additional chief engineer power-I of the electricity department were also present.The minister further said that the officials of the department after minute discussions on the decisions taken at the high level meeting felt that with the dismal response from the consumers the Electricity Act 2003, passed by the state Asembly, should be imposed.He further said that under the new initiative of the state government all power consumers of the state who owned dues to the government would be given one month`s time from today onwards to clear the dues and failure to do so would invite penalties under the Electricity Act 2003.Under the Act the defaulters would be liable to punishment. Further, unauthorized consumers of the state government would be given a chance for a month`s time to enable them to get authorised connections without any penalties and fines. Failure to respond to this concession given by the government would also make the defaulters liable to penalties under the Act, the minister added.The minister further said that for mobilisation of resources from the power sector recent short term measures by imposing penalty against illegal power consumers was made following the failure of the department to get the outstanding dues for about Rs. 200 crores for buying power.The money owed by the state for buying power from Central sector generating stations of the north eastern region, including Loktak HEP (NHPC), Khandong (NEEPCO), Kopili-Kopili Ext (NEEPCO), Kopili HEP Stage-II(NEEPCO), AGBPP Kathalguri and RC Nagar (NEEPCO), Doyang HEP (NEEPCO), Ranganadi HEP (NEEPCO), and Baromura Gas Thermal Project (TSECL), had been already cleared by the state government in the genral interest of the public. But the question which was confronting the state was the response of the general public towards the clearance of their electricity bills which was hampering the taking up of development in the electricity department.He also said that for the effective implemention of the law, the state government had decided to establish a separate additional sessions judge for Manipur East to deal with the rising cases and a drive would be launched involving the personnel of concerned police stations. He also sought the cooperation of the public in the matter.The minister also further mentioned that the state was getting only 80 MW power against the requirement of 160 MW every day and a system of load shedding was being practiced in order to provide uniform power to the people of the state. One of the factors for this was that the state government was making negligible realization of power dues from the public and the government was bearing the payment of Rs. 9.86 crores each month for buying power from different sources.He said all forms of collection of dues from the consumers would be handed over to the concerned engineers of the areas and the state government had also decided to give rewards to engineers who could collect the highest amount of power bills from the public. There would also be reduction in the incentives of the engineers who are poor in delivering their services for realization of revenue, the minister added.The power minister finally mentioned that the Central government had already given his approval for improving the system of power supply in the state through Centrally sponsored APDRP. The state government was planning to launch an underground cable system for power supply in the greater Imphal area and work for the scheme would most likely start by next month as the state government had completed the process of calling for tenders. For the hill districts the same would be taken up under the Centrally sponsored RGGNY, under which the state government would prevent any form of power theft and leakage, he added.

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